As businesses like Target sell apparel for children with Satanist ties and Bud Light advocates transgenderism, believers naturally start to wonder: “Is it wrong for Christians to shop at stores run by sinners?”
This question was posed on a recent episode of the Outstanding Podcast with host Joseph Backholm and guests Jared Bridges and Suzanne Bowdey. The rise of corrupt ideologies sweeping over America is nothing new, but how do Christians determine whether boycotting is the right course of action?
The fact of the matter is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. So, the better question may be: is it wrong for Christians to consciously give money to companies who use those dollars to support sinful practices? Throughout the discussion, Bridges and Bowdey share helpful insights in navigating this conundrum.
Suzanne Bowdey, editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand, advocates for boycotting. “I think a lot of Christians and other people get caught up in the fact that you can’t be pure about boycotting. You can’t find a company or a national corporation that’s going to be 100% with your Christian values. [But] I accept the imperfection of boycotting,” she said. “I accept that it’s messy. I accept that it’s inexact. … For me, it’s about: what am I doing as a Christian, as a steward of what God has given me?”
Constantly looking for companies to boycott “is no way to live,” Bowdey acknowledged. But when is the activism is blatant, Christians should consider whether it’s worth spending money with businesses that will turn around and use it to support woke agendas.
Sharing his perspective, TWS Editor-in-Chief Jared Bridges stated, “I don’t think [boycotting] is un-Christ-like. The reformers were the ones who wanted to change the church.” He continued, “They wanted to reform the church. And then you had Puritans who wanted to leave and go elsewhere. Now, as an evangelical Christian, today in America, I have benefited from both reformers and Puritans.” Bridges added. When contemplating these issues, “I think we need both. Ultimately, we can’t boycott everything that offends us.”
So, how and where do we draw the line?
“We can only control what we can control,” Bowdey stated. “Yes, it’s inconvenient, because my list has gotten pretty big. … But are those things I can avoid? Absolutely.” For Bowdey, it’s worth figuring out where you draw the line personally. She talked about an FRC colleague who draws the line at companies that support abortion travel such as Amazon. As difficult as it was for her co-worker to give up Prime, she thought about it this way, “When I get to heaven, God’s going to look me in the eye and say, ‘Was it really worth it for the free two-day shipping?’”
Much of this discussion boils down to personal conviction. But, as Bowdey stated, “We are accountable for what we know. If I know that my money is going to be turned around and given to the Trevor Project or the Human Rights Campaign, and they’re going to use it to fund a war on God’s values, [I’ll have to answer for that].” Bridges lamented that many Christians don’t even take the time to think about these matters enough to have personal convictions.
At the end of the day, Backholm emphasized, Christians have one ultimate loyalty: Jesus Christ. “As truth seekers, we have to recognize that whenever there are people involved, there are opportunities for sin to come in,” he stated. What is most important is to discern what best aligns with Jesus. At what point do you draw the line? What sacrifices are you willing to make for the sake of upholding Christian values?
1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Christians have a call to live according to a biblical worldview — that is, in accordance with the Scriptures. Perhaps this discussion is hard to navigate. Perhaps the solution is not clear. What is clear is that we ought to glorify God in all we do. As Backholm put it, ask yourself this question: “Am I looking for excuses to do what I want to do, or am I trying to find a way to be more obedient to Jesus?”
As the discussion ended, Bridges added that “there are ways to interact in the world to the glory of God.” Through prayer, “We need to seek Him in how we do that.”
EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.
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